Is aging all in your head? Could the age we feel really reflect the pace at which our brain ages?
Most children feel older than they are, and most adults feel younger than they are. Is it all in the human imagination or is there science in back of it?
Yes, there actually is a difference between chronological aging and biological aging. It is very possible that you can be physically younger than your years.
Chronological age starts with the date on your birth certificate, but our biological age refers to how quickly the body sustains damage from the wear and tear of life. A young person with an unhealthy lifestyle could have a biological age that is twice his chronological age.
There is nothing we can do about the passing of time, but we can do our best to reduce our biological age by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
How young you feel is called your subjective age. It often reflects the state of your physical and mental health.
One research study showed that the brains of those who felt younger had more “grey matter” than those who felt older. Feeling older may mean that you are sensing your brain deteriorate and that could be a warning signal of declining health.
Is it possible for those who feel older to reverse or slow down the aging process by consciously practicing happy and younger thoughts?
It is hard for people in Western nations to feel positive about themselves as they age. Our culture is overly fixated on youth and views old age so negatively that people feel ashamed to be old and keep trying to be young. But is this shame about aging just vanity in our Western culture? In countries where age is valued, the old people are content and are not desperate to be young again.
There are many life advantages that come with aging. We become more calm, confident and happy, and we understand and appreciate life more. Youth is marked by quite a bit of stress and turmoil. It is hoped that as we age, our finances will be better and so will our level of maturity and contentment in life.
Earlier in my thirties, I occasionally felt like dust or cobwebs were symbolically forming in my brain, but I tried to sweep them out and keep my mind full of fresh and exciting ideas and ambitions.
Turning 40 is a reality check that is a little jarring. I do want to keep thinking 10 or 20 years younger, but at the same time, I’m wondering if I should still be in denial of aging or accept my age and learn to cope with being older?
Sometimes, I worry about the fact that I seem to have cheated age and time so far in my life. I have missed all the maturity milestones of my contemporaries and have lived in the perpetual spring/summer of youth. I look at the chronological clock and start to get a little worried, wondering how much longer my game of youth can go on. Will I have a harsh awakening one day?
I found it quite funny when at my great-aunt’s funeral a few years ago, my grandfather’s cousin, who was in his 90s, said he recognized me from the family reunions we had over 20 years ago, and that I hadn’t changed. I was 12 at that last family reunion we attended.
So when a person tells you you haven’t changed, and the last time they saw you was when you were 11 or 12, I’m not quite sure how to take that. I guess it’s a compliment, but I gather that most of us grownups would like to be perceived to be at least age 21.
Could there be a future where you can legally be as young as you feel? I suppose anything is possible, but we are still a long way from that becoming a reality.
The most famous case of trying to legally change ages in recent years was brought by Dutch TV personality Emile Ratelband. He claimed that as a 69-year-old male he suffered from discrimination when it came to making purchases, applying for loans, getting jobs and trying to date on dating websites. His lawsuit was unsuccessful, but it does raise awareness that more needs to be done culturally to de-stigmatize aging and provide opportunities for older people.
Some of the future anti-aging techniques may include increasing individual health and longevity by getting rid of social stereotypes and helping people to think happier and younger thoughts.
Everyone experiences aging differently. If you feel older than you are, you should start on a regiment of positivity and happiness!
Does the healthy mindset or the healthy brain come first? Well, look at the populations over the centuries, and especially over the last hundred years as health and longevity have steadily increased. We witness a somewhat more positive outlook on age and the average lifespan went from mid-50s to mid-70s. At least, I would say that we are on the right track.